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June 15, 2017

Breaking Racial Barriers

Even as Peter was saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the message.” Acts 10:44 (NLT)

The transformational power of the Holy Spirit is no respecter of persons. Wherever the good news of Christ is shared, the Holy Spirit is at work transforming lives! Much to the surprise of these Jewish believers, the Holy Spirit moved on Gentiles as well as Jews! In Acts 10, Peter finds himself telling an Italian Roman Officer named Cornelius about Jesus. As Peter spoke, the Bible says,

“… the Holy Spirit fell upon all who were listening to the message. The Jewish believers who came with Peter were amazed that the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles, too.” (Acts 10:44-45 NLT)

That may seem strange to you and me today, but we are not much different. Too often, we become exclusive in our understanding of faith and limit the work of the Holy Spirit to our little circle. But, Christ came for everyone! The Bible says,

“For God so loved the world …”

No one is outside His reach or love! Have there been those that you may have excluded? You thought they wouldn’t respond to the gospel. Jesus had told His followers in Acts 1:8,

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

As you read through the Book of Acts, you will find that it took persecution in Jerusalem to drive the believers out to those regions beyond. Cornelius was among the first Gentiles to respond to the Gospel. When Peter saw the undeniable evidence of the Holy Spirit in the life of this Gentile, he asked,

“Can anyone object to their being baptized, now that they have received the Holy Spirit just as we did?” (Vs. 47)

With no objections, Cornelius and his entire group of relatives and close friends were all baptized to show their allegiance to Christ and their connection to His church. This infant church was now crossing ethnic and racial boundaries! The Holy Spirit was breaking racial barriers. God’s love knows no boundaries! I love to see baptisms like that! How exciting to see the church bridging racial and ethnic prejudices with God’s love and grace! Pray that the Holy Spirit may lead you to those in whom He is at work, drawing them to faith in Christ. Let God surprise you with His grace as He did with Peter!